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Fort Collins Rejects Oil and Gas Permit Moratorium

Grace Hood

After an hour of public testimony and discussion, Fort Collins city council members rejected an 8-month moratorium on issuing oil and gas permits.

The time-out would have allowed the city to study to study the issue and set forth regulations on hydraulic fracturing.

Most public opinion at the meeting came from businesses and employees in the oil and gas industry. Doug Flanders with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association said there were no pending permit applications, and a moratorium wasn’t needed.

“Fort Collins only has one operator, there are no pending permits, there’s no need for the immediate moratorium,” he said.

Unlike nearby Weld County, which has seen a boom in fracking, Fort Collins has had seen little development from companies. There’s one fracking site northwest side of town, and no pending permits. That site is operated by Prospect Energy, which is part of Black Diamond Minerals.

Three employees from Noble Energy spoke during the comment period. Noble recently paid $57 million in property taxes to Weld County. They discussed the positive economic benefits that development has brought to the county.

But resident James Sack didn’t see it that way. He said the city should take time to study the issue before it’s too late.

“When I look at the net effect, what I see are lower property values, 1-8 million gallons of water being used per fracking well,” he said.

Mayor Karen Weitkunat said that given the low level of drilling activity, she didn’t think a moratorium was warranted. She said that the city will still continue to study regulations on the topic.

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